Last Night: George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at House of Blues, Anaheim on 6/4
It may have been Wednesday night, but as fans, freaks and funkateers piled into the House of Blues for last night’s Parliament Funkadelic show, the phrase “hump day” took on a whole new meaning. At the House of Blues in Downtown Disney, George Clinton, the high priest of Funk, indulged the crowd with a salty slap of old school psychedelics backed by a stage full of sound.
When I heard about this show, the first question in my mind was, “How the hell are these guys going to fit on stage?” The one time I saw them perform at the Greek Theater in L.A. it almost seemed like a few members were getting squeezed back into the stage wings. And last night you could tell things were a little cramped up there as the band charged out stage to warm up the crowd with some fat grooves.
For the most part, we were blessed by the presence of a patchwork of classic members like Garry “Star Child” Shider (diaper and all), Kidd Funkadelic, Robert “P-Nut” Johnson and Boogie Mosson. Not to mention a hoard of talented new faces that made up the bands copious three rows. The show was kicked off with some soulful vocal ribbons laced by songstress Belita Woods and Kendra Foster.
As a fully funktafied Clinton wandered on stage, the eager crowd of fans young and old exploded with hoots, hollers and devil horn hand signs. Covered from head to toe in a huge jacket and fedora hat, Clinton gave a Cheshire cat smile and a wave to the people before unleashing his true beast. By now the concert pit had turned into a sweaty dance floor punctuated by clouds of chronic mist and smiles.
Without sparing too much time the band launched into “Atomic Dog” with the force of five guitarists, bass, drums, sax, trumpet, organs and vocals oozing the bands most recognizable west coast anthem. Clinton’s grainy rasp added the nastiness needed to make the song memorable. I remember a smile creeping across my face as he finally ripped off his hat to give us a full view of his legendary hairdo, or as I affectionately call it, a “rainbow cluster fuck.” Spliced with beads, colored extensions, dreads and god knows what, Clinton looked like some kind of psycho-sonic chanticleer backed by bombastic beats and rainbow flood lights.
The bands set was packed with “best of” material including “Cosmic Slop,” “Chocolate City” and “Up for The Down Stroke” that riled the fans all the way up to the rafters. But even though the whole venue was a swirl of nonstop dancing, grooving and head bobbing, I witnessed something I had never seen before which confirmed that Parliament owned HOB that night. Pretty much every yellow shirt security guard in the room was bobbing their head and smiling. I don’t know how many concerts you go to, but if you go to as many as I do you know what a big deal that is.
Between Kidd Funkadelic’s soaring guitar solos, Shider’s diaper jamming and a pimped out cameo by the character/vocalist Gene “Poo Poo Man” Anderson, there are too many highlights to name in this short post. I must say that the sexual sonic energy came in the middle of the set when Clinton launched into the Little John and the Eastside Boys song “Get Low.” With the crowd in the palm of his hand, Clinton had the incited the chanting some of Crunk’s finest poetry: “To the windoooooowwww, to the wall, 'till the sweat dripps from my bawls, 'till all these bitches crawl, aw skeet, skeet!”
Yes Mr. Clinton…skeet skeet indeed.
Personal Bias: If George Clinton had run for president instead of Hillary, Obama wouldn’t have stood a chance.
Random Detail: The one time a kid tried to crowd surf during the show, the front of the audience didn’t get the memo and dropped him on his ass, hopefully he didn’t get too hurt.
By the Way: Props to George for staying on stage until the very last second possible. It was clear that the House of Mouse was trying to force them off early in a very anticlimactic ending. But even as the band was packing up to go, George couldn’t be moved. As I left I the building, I still heard the crowd chanting “ONE MORE SONG!”
View more photos of the concert here.